Julia Roberts accepts an award for her role in August Osage County at the Hollywood Film Awards.

Julia Roberts accepts an award for her role in August Osage County at the Hollywood Film Awards. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Jake Gyllenhaal and Julia Roberts were among the A-listers who turned out for the Hollywood Film Awards last night (Oct. 21), in a sign that an award–any award–means something again in Hollywood. What makes this crowd so hungry for recognition?

There was a time during the counterculture ’60s and early ’70s when winning a movie award, even and Oscar, was considered a sellout.

That’s because they represented corporate Hollywood’s view about film-making at a time when much of the establishment was being rejected by young upstart filmmakers and actors.

Nothing illustrated that sentiment more than Marlon Brando declining to accept the Best Actor Oscar for his role in the 1973 film “The Godfather.”

Hollywood Film Awards Star-Studded Crowd
(Click Photos to Enlarge)

(Photos by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Instead, he sent Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather to the podium protest Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans.

George C. Scott was notorious for rejecting industry acclaim. He turned down a Best Actor Oscar for 1971’s “Patton” and also declined a Best Supporting Actor nomination for 1961’s “The Hustler.”

“I don’t want any part of it,” Scott said famously.

But the trend is now swinging the other way. The Hollywood Film Awards, determined solely by founder and executive director Carlos de Abreu and a mystery advisory committee, used to be the ugly stepsister of awards shows, according to deadlinehollywood.

Nobody really cared, even if they went and won. But they care now.

The 17th awards show (yep is was only founded in 1997) at The Beverly Hilton drew a substantial crowd of A-Listers who actually stayed for the whole show. For better or worse, it’s now viewed as an indicator of Oscar potential.

There is even talk about televising the awards program next year, which may steal some of the informality and fun, but will cement it as a must attend event.

No wonder Jared Leto, who is angling for an Oscar nod for the “Dallas Buyers Club,” was joined by Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr, Kanye West, Geoffrey Rush, Bruce Willis, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jane Fonda, Forest Whitaker and many other top stars.

Obviously, winning an Oscar ups an actor’s star quotient exponentially, not to mention their salary demands. But there’s more to the awards hunger than that.

At a time when the media revolution has fractured traditional outlets for films, from theaters and television to cable networks, pay-per-view, DVD and the Internet, actors have become more of a commodity, less recognizable and probably more insecure in their careers.

As such they are now all fighting to be a part of the system, not against the system as in years past. And to be a part means winning the industry’s surest sign that you’re in the club… an award.

Even if the award has no meaning? Of course, it’s an award!

Check out photos from the event, let us know your thoughts and follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest movie news.